CORRIB  11 V BALLINASLOE  8.

Ballinasloe will no doubt carry out some serious soul searching as to how they could have lost a game that they so utterly dominated for long stretches before going down by 11pts to 8 to Corrib at Headford on Sunday. If territorial advantage and possession was sufficient to win games then Ballinasloe would have won this one pulling up but the old cliché that scores win games is what matters as Corrib conjured up a last minute drop goal to pull this game out of the fire.

Corrib drew first blood when landing a penalty from the boot of Evan Flynn after only three minutes. Ballinasloe responded with gusto and had the locals pinned in their own half for most of the next  thirty minutes. Conor Loughrey was off target with a penalty to tie the scores after eight minutes.

Ballinasloe pressed on but their play lacked real urgency. Their passing was lateral rather than making any in roads into the Corrib defence and they found it a problem to break the gain line after winning some good ball from set play. Whenever  they  got some forward movement going they were unfortunate to come up against the tigerish flanker, Mairtin Lee, who had a fine game for the homeside.

When Corrib made a rare excursion into the visitors twenty two after half an hour they surely made it tell. Following a number of sallies at the visitors line, their efforts were well repulsed by the visitors defence but they eventually created an opening  for  winger Declan Lee to skip through a few weak tackles and touch down for an unconverted try.

In the thirty eighth minute Ballinasloe came to life at last to put together the best movement of the match. Niall Staunton took the ball forward from a ruck before off loading to the backs and Conor Johnston made the final hard yards to send winger Robert Aherne on his way for a well worked try.

Half time arrived with the hosts 8pts to 5 in front.

It was more of the same from Ballinasloe in the second period. They appeared to have their opponents on the ropes but just could not find the knock out punch.  For Corrib, Lee continued to pull his pack together while Joe Walsh proved an effective operator out of touch.

In the sixty eighth minute Faolan Sweeney was unfortunate to see his penalty kick come back off the upright  for the visitors but made amends two minutes later when slotting the equaliser.

A draw looked the most likely outcome as the game entered the final minute with play around the half way line. There seemed little danger as Corrib hacked a loose ball forward towards the Ballinasloe line but the visitors made a meal of dealing with it. They were forced to touch down over their own line. The hosts used the resulting scrum to set up a drop goal opportunity which out half, Charlie O’Sullivan, took with aplomb with the last kick of the game.

BALLINASLOE:  M.Tierney , M.Gibbons, C.Loughrey, C.Johnston, R.Aherne(B.Brophy 41mins), F.Sweeney, R.Doolan, J.J.Carey( D.Maguire 62mins), A.O’Hara( A.Wade 71 mins), T.Dolan, K.Dolan( J.Hayes 50mins),  D.Fenton, H.Reynolds, N.Staunton, A.Loughrey.

Ballinasloe’s  second team were also in action in their league on Sunday when they made the journey to Galway to take on Our Lady’s Boys Club. Following a hard fought encounter they went down by 32pts to 15. After an even enough first half and with the score running at 6pts to 3 in favour of the city side, the locals ran in a flurry of tries just before half time to lead 22 to 3 at the interval. Ballinasloe regained their composure in the second period and out scored their opponents by 12pts to 10. Scorers for Ballinasloe:  Aaron Moloney, Niall Gibbons ( 1try each ), David Freeman( 1 pen, 1 conv. ).

Ballinasloe’s U17s  lined out against Galweigans in a Saturday league fixture at home and put in a big performance to win by 15pts to nil. This was especially pleasing as they were short a few regulars for various reasons. However, they will require a full squad in two weeks time when they face up to Monivea in what should be a tough battle for the spoils.

LIAM COURTNEY, BALLINASLOE RFC.

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